Take your stinking paws off me…

After arriving in Bali very late the night before, we needed to find an ATM and that required risking our lives crossing a busy street of non-stop traffic. With no clear way to get across we hoofed it back to the hotel and with the help of a “crossing” guard we barely managed to cross the street without getting killed and put a serious dent in our travel plans.

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The first ATM spat out my card with an ambigious message that it wasn’t able to process my transaction. After visiting three more ATMs with the same results, a slight panic set in as we realized that we couldn’t access any funds for our travels in Indo. After 20 minutes on the phone with our bank and lots of security questions later we were able to withdraw the maximum of 1.250.000 IDR or more like $90 which is really not much for Indo as a lot of independent outfitters take only cash.

Other than that slight glitch in the beginning, the rest of our day went pretty well. We hired a driver to take us to Ubud with some touristy destinations along the way.

Destination one was Sanur Beach, a convenient stop off the highway that is supposed to be one of the more peaceful beaches in southern Bali. It kind of was that but was not overly interesting or inviting. Litter and the usual hawkers took away from the relaxing beach experience. Still, in the background were traditional fishermen with cane poles and lines wading 50 yards off the shore and a few outrigger boats tied up on the beach.

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Back on the road we visited Batuan Village. A 40,000 Rp donation and a couple of borrowed sarongs later we explored the main temple. Without a guide we walked around and took pictures. As it was our first Balinese temple we were fairly impressed.

Next we stopped at Tegenungan waterfall. A small fee allowed us to walk down and then back up a major staircase to get a better view of the falls. The falls were nice and people were swimming at the bottom, but like the beach this picturesque spot has been touristified to within an inch of its life.

Our last stop was at the Monkey Forest, which is just a short walk from our hotel. Another small fee and we were surrounded by countless primates screeching, hopping and playing with sticks. Only some of them spoke English but they all seemed to be enjoying having monkeys (Balinese long tailed monkeys, Macaca fascicularis) running and playing and sometimes jumping up on their shoulders and heads. We walked around the temple complex and watched the monkey antics while taking pictures. Of course we can’t go to one of these semi-wild monkey things without one of us getting attacked. A dominant male chased all his brethren away and ended up perched on the path railing next to me (G). I started to aim my camera at him and he clearly became agitated. I put the camera down but now even looking his way set him off. I decided to just walk past him at which point he grabbed my shirt and screamed, baring his teeth. He kept yelling as I pulled away and glanced back but he had made his point and stayed where he was. Of course I was too chicken to get his picture.

The day ended with an introduction to a great room in a great lodge, the Otawaki Hotel, and then an excellent Balinese meal with smoked duck at Cafe Wayan.

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